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Hydrogen-Enhanced Combustion Engine Could Improve Gasoline Fuel Economy by 20% to 30%

5 November 2005

An HECE test engine

Work being done by ArvinMeritor, IAV (Ingenieursgesellshaft für Auto und Verkehr) and MIT on enhancing gasoline combustion with a small hydrogen gas stream is pointing toward a potential estimated improvement in gasoline fuel economy of 20% to 30%, depending upon the baseline engine.

Writing in the October issue of MTZ (Motortechnische Zeitschrift), Utz-Jens Beister from IAV and Rudy Smaling from ArvinMeritor describe their progress with the Hydrogen-Enhanced Combustion Engine (HECE) concept, as applied to an SUV-class 3.2-liter V6 test engine.

The premise of HECE, on which the research collaborative has been working for a number of years, is that the addition of a small amount of hydrogen to the cylinder charge can allow homogeneous charge ultra-lean-burn combustion engines to operate much leaner than otherwise possible.

That in itself is not a new discovery. What brings HECE closer to operational reality is the ArvinMeritor/MIT on-board, compact plasma reformer (earlier post) that can take a fraction of the conventional fuel, reform it in real-time and add the resulting hydrogen-rich gas to the remaining fuel-air mixture flowing into the engine.

In the plasma fuel reformer, air is metered into a plasma generator located upstream of a combustor. High voltage is applied to the air stream, forming high-temperature plasma. This high-temperature plasma torch flows into the combustor, initiating vigorous combustion of a rich fuel-air mixture. Within the plasma fuel reformer, partial oxidation reactions occur in the high-temperature gas phase created by the plasma, eliminating the need for a reforming catalyst.

The shift of combustion limits with hydrogen-enhanced combustion.

Adding hydrogen gas to the homogeneous fuel charge improves the ignitability of the mixture, and increases flame speed and combustion stability. In theory, the combination of a lean-burn engine with the plasma reformer could support an ultra-lean and turbocharged engine that would reduce NOx emissions to the point of not requiring aftertreatment in the exhaust stream.

Researchers at the Sloan Automotive Laboratory at MIT also discovered that both hydrogen and carbon monoxide (both products of the partial oxidation process of the reformer) act as octane enhancers. Adding the reformed fuel gas to the engine thus also supports a substantial increase in compression ratio.

Once an engine is developed that operates ultra-lean, is turbocharged—or super-charged—and is better able to withstand engine knock, engine downsizing while maintaining performance becomes a credible option that can lead to significant additional fuel economy and performance benefits.

—Beister and Smaling

Such an ultra-lean-burn, high compression-ratio, turbocharged HECE could exhibit the following characteristics:

  • Extremely low engine out NOx emissions requiring little or no exhaust emissions control

  • Reduced pumping losses (~5-10% efficiency gain)

  • Improved thermodynamics (~10-12% efficiency gain)

  • Reduced friction (downsizing) (~5-8% efficiency gain)

ArvinMeritor is targeting release of the HECE for approximately 2008.


November 5, 2005 in Concept Engines, Fuel Efficiency, Fuels, Hydrogen | Permalink | Comments (83) | TrackBack (1)


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What amount of electricity is needed to seperate the hydrogen in the water?


Yours truely Jory

To all you piston heads, think about this. If hydrogen does its work in just 2% of the crank stroke and hydro boost and gas mix dose its work in 12 to 14% of the power stroke why not design a new cam to open up the exaust valve at say 20% of the stroke or 36 degrees so as not to cause a negative air pressure and allowing exhaust gasses to inter that cylinder and perhaps make even cleaner exhaust. Not only that but hydrogen is not so perticular to air fuel mixture as gas is, it will burn quite nicely on a 33:1 air fuel mixture. Also on the compression stroke, again hydrogen doesnt need as much air to explode and you loose a lot of power on the compression stroke, so open the exhaust valve again for minimum compression, and you have a more echonomical engine. Food for thought. Nathan

OK, I work for a Hydrogen company. We sell after-market units that simply strap onto a truck or car and inject the hydrogen into the intake/pre-turbo. Look, here's the truth... It takes a lot of power to convert the water to hydrogen, that comes off your alternator.. and so the power needed to make the gas does not equal the output, a little more power.. maybe a better clean air. I have been doing this 4 years..! Check out the sites, where is the Legal proof of these savings.. look at the small print.. it's all inside testing, or

Wouldnt the water produced from burning Hydrogen cause corosion, shorting the life of the engine a great deal?

New patented technology of high performing and efficient hydrogen production by plasma assisted electrolysis of water or ethenol(or any hydro-carbon) water mix will be on the way to increase the chance of hydrogen incorporation to whatever type of combustion engine. It is expected that it will particularly useful for heavy vehicals, marine engine, diesel generator. The only problem is find a water storage tank space for small vehicals.

What I’d really love to see is a diesel prius with the great device above (which should be on every combustion engine in the country) and solar panels.

I bet it’d easily win the megabuck for a commercially viable 100 MPG car.

BTW, how much work is it to install this device as an aftermarket item for a commercially available car? If I bought a prius and installed this, would I be able to easily remove it when the car needed servicing? (I don't want to void the warranty, so want to keep it unknown to the dealer.)


I was looking to see if there is a Hydrogen fuel cell kit for a 2005 Ford Explorer.

Guys, a well known Japanese inventor, Yoshiro Nakamatsu, invented hydrogen injection 30 years ago.
It was patented and called Enerex.

Info is available on the web.

I've started investigating the use of hydrogen-enhanced combustion. Is it just for the use in diesel engines? Can this be added to the intake on a regular gasoline engine? I think this could greatly improve the fuel economy on all the vehicles that are in production today.

how come no one talks about daniel dingle's car thats
been running on water for years let's just find his
device .

I designed a 3liter inline 6 twin turbocharged intercooled HYDROInjection, with no throttle, 12 injectors, and 425 hp. NO PETROL. ALL HYDROGEN. patent pending.

it uses 2 CT20 Ceramic Turbochargers designed by toyota
12 750CC injectors that are programmed with a homemade ECU
The TPS (throttle position sensor) was relocated to the pedal, injectors are placed on intake runner. There are 4 alternators placed on the DRIVESHAFT, and located in in trunk running off of the drive shaft. The hydroinjection is used right after the exhaust stroke to decrease cylinder temperature and predetination substantially. I installed a 54mm choke that only turns on <55degree ambient temp. Hydrogen production is less that satisfactory if vehicle is driven for short distance (Can fill a 10 kilo tank in about 2 1/2 hours. The engine was sleeved, never blown a cylinder.

o, and the base engine block I used was a 2jz-GTTE twin turbo from Toyota.

Some people are users, some are tinkerers, some are invertors, and the rest just want it to work and improve cost per mile of what ever the fuel is in our engine.
Some year back I came up by accidentally to a new fluoropolymer product that could be structured in a way to make air filters or auxillary separation filters that will take ambient air and with electrical current applied, separate air into O2 and N2(with all of the other minute gases). Two issue were presented. Sufficient surface and flow, and sufficient current to charge the large surface area required to generate a supplement O2 that would bring the combustion air volume O2 ratio from 19.5% up to 28%. The exhaust NOX stuff will diminish. 36% is possible but extensive re-engineering of the I.C.E. it is applied to would be required to keep from component heat degradation.
Fuel combustion efficiency will increase. Engine temps will increase slightly as the heat generated will be increased but the power produced to move a defned vehicle weight is achieved with less fuel volume and engine rpm. Adding Hydrogem will do similar positive and negative things to the engine and associated processes. Combine these two technologies and the power derived at a stated rpm will increase thus requiring a lower rpm to achieve the power needed to move a defined weight vehicle. Best of all the emissions will be reduced in the exhaust. The one other area that has to be addressed is the heat recovery from the exhaust to aid in the efficient burn cycle. That has some aftermarket technolgies available also.
To achive the best integrated retorfit to the I.C.E. we all have in our cars, we need to have these technologies in the design applied. Collaboration?????

It amazes me the available technologies for greater fuel efficiency, which are not being applied. Here's an article about a better engine:

here is a question that no one seems to be addressing. the water in the vehicle will freeze at 32*F. how can this system work then?

Adding pure ammonia NH3 to the water in the winter will keep the system from freezing and actually enhance hydrogen production. That's three hydrogens per nitrogen and releases just as easily under electrolysis. Make sure you don't use ammonia with additives though.

Could the water used to produce the Brown's gas be recovered from the steam in the exhaust? And could the steam heat be used to heat the fuel pre-injector to levels above engine coolant temperature?

If the steam were to be removed pre-catalyst, wouldn't that also improve(decrease) the NOx levels by getting the steam out of the way of NOx to catalyst contact? This would bring the technology to a user-friendly marketing status that vested interests could no longer suppress.

Sure the government would lose tax revenues from fuel sales, "Big Oil" would lose sales revenue, and the auto parts industry would later lose revenue from replacing worn engine parts due to carbon buildup and oil consumption from exhaust heat valvetrain stress. Even they couldn't countermarket the immediate cost and long term ecological benefits of a hands-off user friendly "Green" aftermarket upgrade to your current vehicle!

If most any local mechanic could install this system and the user did nothing but fill up the gas tank, I'm sure we would see an explosion in interest across all consumer income levels. Maybe gas prices would also drop due to the economic law of (increased)supply and (decreased)demand. This would greatly assist low income families struggling to survive in a war stressed gas-high economy. It would be awesome if someone could use the money I don't have to implement and test such a system.

I can almost hear my local mechanic's advertisement on the radio - " Bring me your car and I will make it Green for you. You will never have to lift your hood. Just put gas in it and go." Sounds too good to be true.

I'd still check it out.

20-30% more efficient? Isn't that called a `diesel'?

In gas mileage yes, but not in performance.

There's an argument going on at another website that I'm on.

We're three years on from the original article, and the question is very simple: "Does this concept work".

I think I know what the answer is, but I need someone else to confirm my suspicion.

Brian P what's the other web site? There is no net gain from generating H2 using the alternator. It will be lost as soon as you charge your battery. There is some dispute about the plasma theory. It is possible that the fuel burns more efficiently when small amounts of H2 are added in combination with the plasma chamber. To get these benefits you would need a whole new electronic engine management system, so as a DIY project it may not be very easy.

I've been reading front and back on this, looking up sellers and different types of systems.

So far, and after questioning some of the sellers about the "Long Term Effect of HHO in the Engine" their responses have all been positive...cleaner inside and out.

A real shame this is not widely known.

I would still like to hear from someone who is currently using the system, and has been for at least a couple of is the engine running now?

Is the timing affected in any way, how about the plugs?

I'm seriously considering buying one of the books on how to do it yourself, and test it out!

I know there is plenty of research, but non that I have found talks about the long term effect?

I'll keep on reading!

I just ran across this site and in the hopes of getting others to convert I want to post some of my experience. I have modified a 91 Toyota Previa to the point that it is giving me almost 40MPG (from about 21 MPG prior to mods). I have done numerous mods with the goal of doubling mileage. Here is a quick summary of the mods:

1) I used an MVP voltage stabiler/grounding system to improve electrical conditions ($200)
2) I used performance spark cables and Platinum +4 plugs ($200)
3) I added a RAM cold air intake ($50)
4) I added some vortex control wings to improve aerodynamics (based on an australian design)
5) I added an EFIE controller, a wideband O2 sensor and digital Air/fuel monitor to control the ECUs interpretation of exhaust gas ($360)
6) I added a damp air bubbler (home made) to the air intake (cools engine and improves combustion) ($30)

Just using these mods and after learning to play with the EFIE I gained about 4 MPG. These mods were all prep for using a hydrogen electrolyzer. After researching for a long time (about a year) I designed a multi cell, single plate system based on the boyce concept combined with some ideas from others. I experimented with various designs before mounting something on the engine as for me this has been a major learning process.

7) Added a home made 6 cell, single plate hydrogen system delivering HHO to air intake. ($240 - seamless SS is expensive)

The addition of the hydrogen system was amazing. It has taken me a while (it's been running for about 7 months) to understand how it works and learn to adjust the EFIE correctly but now that I have it down I'm excited about the possibilities. I'm still learning and suspect that perhaps adjusting the timing a bit will give me even better mileage but I haven't done this yet.

My next experiment is going to be to get a cheap used car to convert it to running 100% on HHO. I have a few designs and have been studying other experiences.

Eventually I'll put all this out on the web somewhere to help others. The point is that for those of you that are skeptical this stuff really works. If we all get on the bandwagon and start doing these things we will kill the monster (the oil companies and auto industry). The cool thing is that in theory every single car on the market can be modified to work this way NOW. Think of the possibilities!

Now, I also have a spreadsheet that compares the net financial result between never refinancing, refinancing every 5 years and keeping a target of paying all loans off in 360 months from the time you bought, and refinancing every 5 years but making the minimum payment. In the majority of cases, the last situation comes out better, largely due to the effects of leverage , but leverage is always a two- edged sword. If things go the way you want, it makes them even better. If things don't go the way you want,...

"Adding hydrogen gas to the homogeneous fuel charge improves the ignitability of the mixture, and increases flame speed and combustion stability."

Correct me if i am wrong, how can H2 improve flame speed when H2 has a slower flame speed then gasoline?

"High voltage is applied to the air stream, forming high-temperature plasma."

So can a car alternator supply this kind of high voltage?
O.k., I'll correct you. H2 is not the only thing in the air, it is H2 and oxygen and on top of that, some gas. The burn speed is many times faster than gas.

Make a ziplock baggie of HHO gas and ignite it in your garage. It will or almost will blow the windows out of your garage door.

That simple experiment will prove that out real quick. ;-)

With gas prices the way they are I think alot of people are looking for ways to improve mileage.

One thing that complicates the whole brown's gas/hydrogen injection/HHO/water injection/etc. is how it will effect the oxygen sensor. In most cases that I've found (with minimal research) where people install these systems, like the one on the toyota previa in the posting above, they include a device that will alter the signal from the oxygen sensor. I assume it is because there is more oxygen in the exhaust and the computer will richen up the air fuel mixture which may result in worse mileage.

I haven't tried any of these gas saving modifications myself so I'm not sure what happens with the oxygen sensor. Any insight from someone who has would be appreciated.

I do know that a friend of mine installed a water injection system on a volvo turbo and he had to build a circuit that would change the signal from the oxygen sensor. He installed the system so that he could increase the turbo boost pressure to get more power without the engine knocking. The science behind it has to do with the latent heat of vaporization of water and how it cools the combustion process. He found that his gas mileage also improved as well as the amount of power.

I recently bought the instructions for a simple HHO gas kit from I am planning on putting a 6 cell system in my 5.3 liter 2003 chevy silverado, does anyone have any tips they can give me. the plans call for disconnecting the factory O2 sensor, installing two "oxygen isolator valves" (aka spark plug non foulers, haha) and then plugging the O2 sensor into the other end of the non foulers. i guess this fools the engine into giving it a leaner mixture of fuel so that the HHO can do its thing. anyone have any tips or warnings i should be aware of, haha

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